There's a dirty little secret that business folks don't want you to know. The secret? Their businesses are not doing as well as they'd like you to believe. We all have our share of ups and downs but when it comes to downs it's tempting to stick our heads in the sand. It's also tempting to present an alternate reality to the world around us. The big question is, should we keep it a secret or do we tell the world what's going on?
There are two sides to this so let's start by asking a couple of questions.
- Will disclosure result in a loss of integrity, sales, quality or momentum?
- Is the chief concern your image?
- Why does disclosure matter?
- Is there a benefit to be derived from disclosure?
- Is there a risk associated with failure to disclose?
It becomes readily apparent that disclosure may or may not be a bad thing. If disclosure will harm your business in any way, it can be quite tricky to choose the best course. In fact, it's likely that you'll choose to say nothing, but... you don't want to give customers a reason to stay away and yet you can't afford to alienate employees, suppliers and others who comprise the backbone of your business. In other words, measured disclosure is necessary if you want to succeed in difficult times.
Your dirty little secret should not be a weight around your neck. OK, things are not all you had hoped they'd be but getting out of it requires help and in all probability you cannot do it alone. Measured disclosure is just that, disclosure to those people who can and will help you get through these tough times. Said another way, don't advertise, deal with it strategically. Each situation calls for a different plan; make sure you keep your mind open to all the possibilities.
Don't forget to keep your head out of the sand and skip the alternate reality trap. If you go down those paths, you'll be blind to the opportunity and you might just end up believing in something that's not real!